WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT AMERICA
It's easy to see the appeal of D'Souza's patriotic cheerleading. A former domestic policy analyst under Reagan, he sees the world in black and white: on one side, America—"the best life our world has to offer"—on the other, "the enemy, which conducts its operations in the name of Islam." To his credit, D'Souza (Illiberal Education, etc.) lays out his case well, although little here is new: America, he says, is a land of opportunity and freedom (D'Souza himself immigrated to the U.S. from India), and those who oppose American policy are simply jealous. But he doesn't stop with exhortations to fellow citizens about why the war against terrorism is righteous. D'Souza, a leading conservative thinker, revels in thumbing his nose at his ideological opponents: one of his chapters is provocatively named "Two Cheers for Colonialism." In this chapter, D'Souza trumpets the science, democracy and capitalism that he believes have led the West to global supremacy. Along the way, he spares no chance to bash those who he thinks have "denigrated" America and trivialized its freedom: multiculturalists, feminists, hippies and vegetarians. For the most part, D'Souza steers clear of criticizing his fellow conservatives, and when he does, as when he lectures them about the need to combine morality with freedom, he lacks specifics. In the end, reading D'Souza's book is similar to spending an hour listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio—his fellow travelers will love it; readers on the left will love to hate it. (May)
Forecast:Readers will have their choice of patriotic paeans this season: along with D'Souza's is William Bennett's Why We Fight (Forecasts, Mar. 11) and Roger Rosenblatt's Where We Stand: 30 Reasons for Loving Our Country (look for a review in coming weeks). There should be a strong market for these slender volumes.
Release date: 03/01/2002